Benaki Museum in Athens. 100 Chairs in 100 Days by Martino Gamper. A platonic interpretation. From June 6 to July 28 2013. Opening date: June 5th, 2013, at 20:00.
On Wednesday June 5th 2013 at 20:00, Benaki Museum will inaugurate the exhibition of Italian designer Martino Gamper “100 chairs in 100 days”; a collection that has traveled to England, Austria, France, Germany, Italy and the USA and has received rave reviews.
The one hundred chairs were constructed in one hundred days using old discarded chairs that the designer collected from the London streets (or more frequently, friends’ homes). His intention was to build unique prototypes and not standardised products. The process produced a collection of possibilities, something that Gamper would describe as a “three dimensional sketchbook”. The new chairs-amalgams, mix in a bold an imaginative way different structural, functional, geographical, historical and sociological elements. With a remarkable capacity to transform “humble” material into inspiring products, the designer deservingly won the award for “best alchemist”.
Gamper will demonstrate his creative process in a special video performance, produced for the Benaki Museum. Few days before the opening he will construct a new 100th chair using abandoned chairs that were found in Athens.
The installation not only will present the whole 100 chair oeuvre, but intends to invite the viewer to interpret Gamper’s conclusion “the perfect chair does not exist” by introducing Plato’s Theory of Forms. Plato writes in the Republic “the craftsman produces by fixing his eyes on the idea or form… but surely no craftsman makes the idea itself. How could he?” 596b6-10. According to Plato no material object can reach the perfection of the Idea.
In effect this proves that Gamper’s statement carries a deeper truth and that is “perfection is an elusive concept”. Only with our mind can we grasp the essence of what a perfect chair is.
But there is one more reason that one shouldn’t miss this exhibition: part of the proceeds will be donated to the “Elpida” Association of friends of children with cancer.
BENAKI MUSEUM Pireos Street Annexe 138 Pireos Athens, Greece www.benaki.gr